The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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September 14, 2013

Anniversary brings little notice and no justice

STILLWATER, Okla. — This past week marked two very sobering anniversaries.

The most important was the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. More than 3,000 innocent Americans lost their lives at the hands of Islamist extremists.

But the other deserves recognition as well: Sept. 11 was also the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

In terms of scale, the second seems almost trivial. It must also be said that those who enter the Foreign Service and are posted in dangerous corners of the world are volunteering to face the risks involved — much more so than someone simply going to work in Manhattan on a Tuesday morning.

Still, the anniversary of the Benghazi attack should have prompted many more questions from the media than it did, about the continuing lack of accountability from the Obama administration — you know, the one he promised would be the “most transparent in history.”

The day after the attack, the president declared, “We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

But a year later, it seems the mistake is to believe that justice will be done. Nobody has been caught, prosecuted, jailed or killed for participating in the attack.

True, it is not simple to track terrorists down in hostile countries and bring them to justice. But, based on both rhetoric and action, the president seems much more focused on bringing the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria to justice than he does the Benghazi attackers.

Yes, it is a moral obscenity for the leader of a nation to slaughter his own people, many of them children. But the American president ought to be at least as concerned about the slaughter of his own countrymen — who died in the line of duty for their country — as he is about victims of a civil war in Syria.

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